Alumni Perspectives

"I can not be more positive about the first year course changes and the development of the Integrated Learning Centre at Queen's for engineering students. I graduated from the department of Chemical Engineering two years ago and I have seen first-hand in my career just how important team and leadership skills are, as well as solid project experience. In order to not only survive but thrive in industry today, it is imperative new graduates come to the table with the skills necessary to make an immediate contribution.

The benefits that Queen's students would receive learning and working in the IL Centre environment would be unparalleled in Canada. Participating in true team driven, cross-disciplinary engineering projects and garnering practical as well as theoretical knowledge would undoubtedly give Queen's Engineering graduates an edge in the job market. This program would deliver project management experience and the corresponding team, leadership, communication, analytical and 'survival' skills, which simply cannot be acquired in traditional undergraduate, course work. When hiring a new engineer, I would seek graduates with the type of experience an IL Centre environment could provide."

Mark Healy, Science '98
Iogen Corporation

"I believe [the ILC] is a fantastic idea. More concretely, I can speak for many of my classmates who constantly rave about how useful, and how much more we learned from our 4th year Chemical Engineering curriculum which involved a course on 'entrepreneurship', self-directed labs, and the consulting-case study-Technology Innovation Program course [now called TEAM - Technology, Engineering and Management]. Although no one can argue the requirement of learning the fundamentals in 1st year, team-based, and most importantly, applied projects will undoubtedly keep engineers interested, as well as give them a better feel for what they can actually do with this education!"

Katie Walsh, Science '96
Hatch Associates

"This style of collaborative working environment definitely reflects what is happening in companies and innovation centres that are looking to make the most of the resources they have (the people and the technology). The future lies in leveraging the resources available to an organization to achieve something greater than the sum of the parts. Engineers traditionally have been the pillars that support this type of change, but your centre looks like it aims to bring them into the (shared) limelight

...Providing a strong basis for understanding this approach, as well as thriving in it, means the difference between future Queen's Applied Science grads being the leaders of change or the anchors in an organization."

Tom Muirhead, Science '86

"I think teamwork is an essential part of building professional skills. It seemed that we had ample opportunity within our discipline to work in teams but it seemed rare that Eng Chem students ever had time or reason to work with, say, Mech students. I think that it is important to have the opportunity to work in cross disciplinary teams since it is rare that a Chemical Engineer works with only Chemical Engineers for the rest of her life."

Susan Smandych, Science '96
Anderson Consulting